Clozaril ®

Generic Name: Clozapine (KLOE-za-peen)

Drug Class: Antipsychotics

Contents

Drug Uses

Clozapine is a medicine that is used to treat schizophrenia. This medicine is usually prescribed when other antipsychotic medicines have not helped.

General Information

Clozapine is available only from certain pharmacies that participate with your doctor to monitor blood tests. You will need to have weekly blood test for at least six months. After that your doctor will decide if it is safe for you to have blood tests every other week. You will receive enough medicine to get you to your next blood test.

How it Works

Clozapine is part of a class of drugs called antipsychotics. This class of drugs works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

How to Take It

Clozapine should be taken exactly as directed. It comes in tablet form and is taken orally one to three times a day. Your dose of clozapine may need to be adjusted, especially in the first few weeks. You will need to take weekly blood tests while taking clozapine and continue until 4 weeks after you stop taking clozapine. Initially, you will only receive a weeks supply at a time. Continue to take this medicine even if you are feeling better. This medicine must be taken for a few weeks for you to feel its full effects.

Possible Side Effects

    • Talk to your doctor if any of these side effects are bothersome or don’t go away:

      • drowsiness
      • dry mouth
      • diarrhea
      • constipation
      • restlessness
      • headache

    • If you experience any of these side effects, talk to you doctor immediately:

      • tremor
      • seizures
      • difficulty urinating
      • confustion
      • eye pain
      • chest pain
      • muscle stiffness (severe)
      • sore throat
      • unusual bleeding or bruising
      • upset stomach
      • yellowness of the skin or eyes
      • loss of appetite
      • vomiting

    • Clozapine can cause high blood sugar. Symptoms of high blood sugar are:

      • being thirsty
      • having dry mouth
      • urinating frequently
      • feeling tired

Warnings/Precautions

    • Clozapine can cause a serious blood condition that you need to be aware of. Your doctor will perform weekly blood tests for the first 6 months of treatment and once every other week after that.


    • Clozapine may cause seizures. Tell your doctor if you have or have every had a seizure. Do not perform hazardous tasks including driving while taking clozapine, because a loss of conscienceness can hurt you or others.


    • Clozapine may cause swelling the heart muscle, a dangerous condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

      • extreme tiredness
      • difficulty breathing
      • fever
      • chest pain
      • fast or irregular heartbeat.

    • Clozapine may cause low blood pressure or dizziness when you stand up too quickly. This may happen when you first start taking the medicine.


    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to clozapine or any other medications for schizophrenia.

Overdose

    • Seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

    • Some medicines should not be taken together because of drug-drug interactions. Other medicines may affect the way clozapine works, making it less effective or increasing its side effects. Clozapine may have an effect on your other medicines. Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications for anxiety such as Valium (diazepam), sleeping pills, or other medications for schizophrenia.


    • Let your doctor know all of the medications that you take including all prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs and any vitamins, supplements or herbal remedies.

Missed Dose

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.

Pregnancy/Nursing

There are no studies with this medicine in pregnant women. However, clozapine has not been shown to cause birth defects in animal studies. You and your doctor should decide whether the benefits of taking this medicine outweigh any risks to your baby. Clozapine may pass into breast milk. You should NOT breastfeed while taking this medicine. Talk to your doctor for more information.

More Information

Do not let anyone else take your medicine. For more information on clozapine, talk to your healthcare provider.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 May 2015
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.